Race to Nowhere

April 4, 2010 at 5:37 am 5 comments

I was talking to a mom in the park last week as we waited for our daughters in their 45-minute art class. Having found out a bit about my background and my husband’s, the kind woman was sincerely asking me what to do about the fact that her four-year-old was “having trouble with the numbers 10 through 20.”  She was asking me how my daughter’s drawings are (“chicken scratch, but she is having fun, so who cares?” I said), and if she can write her name yet (no).  This mother was clearly seriously worried about whether her daughter was “behind.”  She is FOUR.  I asked her, “Where’s the race?  And what’s at the end?”  I asked if her child was happy.  I asked how she defines success.

A few days later, my husband tells me that he (with several other San Diego County Teachers of the Year) is helping to arrange a screening in San Diego of a new film called Race to Nowhere.  It is pretty much exactly everything Having Enough is about and why I started this blog three years ago, citing the same books, pumping the same critical message:  We must redefine success!  We are driving ourselves into the ground!  We are losing our kids to an unrealistic, unhealthy cultural standard! From what I can see, this film asks the same questions of its audience as I asked the fellow mom at the park.  Hallelujah!

Mother-filmmaker Vicki Abeles saw her own kids caught up in the stressed-out culture of achievement, and decided to do something about it. I can’t wait to see her film, Race to Nowhere (even though she totally beat me to it! you go, sister!) — I hope everyone in America gets a chance to see it!

As a voice says in the movie’s trailer, “to change, we must all change together.”

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5 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Kelly Kovacic  |  April 4, 2010 at 11:27 pm

    Megan,
    A wonderful post and reminder that as a society we need to look at how we define success. As a teacher, so often I see students obsessed with the grade or points earned rather than the lessons learned. We need to create an environment where students are nurtured and are growing both academically and personally. I’m looking forward to working with the other county Teachers of the Year to arrange the screening of “Race to Nowhere” and the much needed discussion it will hopefully illicit.

    Reply
  • 2. Slawebb  |  April 5, 2010 at 4:02 pm

    I am guilty of pushing my kids to learn too much, so early. I am doing my best to pull back. I want for my kids to take the lead and make it all for them. I need to stop comparing them to others and just let the be great at what they are and let them be average at everything else. I read a book called “Coloring Outside the Lines” that was about this. I think I need a refresher. I’d love to see that movie.

    Reply
  • 3. caroline  |  April 20, 2010 at 11:52 pm

    I just saw this movie and it’s so upsetting — in such an important and valuable way! It has me motivated to act — starting with spreading the word by writing about it for Literary Mama soon.

    Reply
  • 4. Susan  |  June 18, 2010 at 3:26 pm

    I’ve had a conversation just like that too! Except at the time I didn’t have the experience or tools to come back with questions like yours 🙂 I think it’s even easier to see that every child is different and proceeds at a different pace after you’ve had a second child!

    Where can I see ‘Race to Nowhere’? Will it be available online? It sounds very interesting!

    Reply
  • 5. Megan  |  June 29, 2010 at 10:02 pm

    Thanks so much for your comments, Kelly and slawebb! Eager to see your review, Caroline! And, Susan, check their Facebook page for screening info — though since they already did San Diego we may have to wait for Netflix…

    Reply

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Welcome!

You are visiting "Having Enough (In a Have-It-All World)"...

Blog Mission

To spark conversation about redefining success (as individuals, families and institutions) and to counter "never enough" messages currently circulating in our culture.

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Megan Pincus Kajitani: Writer, Editor, Former Academic Overachiever and Career Counselor, Mom, Wife, Feminist, Gen Xer, Californian who believes that change is possible View Megan Pincus Kajitani's profile on LinkedIn

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